City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the July 22 Meeting?

It’s the last meeting before summer vacation, and it promises to be a doozy.

PRESENTATION – Medal Presentation to Chloe Massey – Canada Games, held in February 2019 in Red Deer, Alberta, Bronze Medal in Two Categories: Team Free and Team Technical Artistic Swimming, 10 person team, 16-18 year olds.

CLOSED MEETING – Dolime Update; Baker District Redevelopment – Proposed Development Management Agreement and Proposed Development Site; and, Strategy to Address Provincial Legislative Changes.

IDE-2019-80 Service Agreement with Our Energy Guelph – Per the contentious council meeting on May 27, council requested a service agreement with Our Energy Guelph to solidify their partnership with the City to implement the corporation’s goal to get to Net Zero by 2050. The motion asked for Our Energy to establish a board of directors, file letters of incorporation, and establish a budget for its first year with funding plans for subsequent years (the City has already pledged $175,000 of funding for its first year). This report includes a budget, plus news that Our Energy was incorporated as of May 31, and that a board of directors – including representatives from Alectra, the Guelph Chamber, Innovation Guelph, the Guelph Youth Council, and the U of G Sustainability Office – has been joined.

CS-2019-76 Strategy to Address Provincial Legislative Changes – “The current political environment has given municipalities no other choice but to re-evaluate our core service delivery responsibilities and consider alternative, collaborative solutions for some programs.” That grim report comes from staff responding to months of announced provincial funding changes and cuts, and with the annual budget process just a few months away, a serious look at the City’s future fiscal prudence is needed.

Staff are going to focus on specific service level impacts instead of across-the-board efficiency targets. This method, according to staff, will yield greater benefits than small cuts on items like office supplies or training, which only have marginal, short-term impacts on the budget. Still, the finance department is weary about finding savings in just the areas affected by the provincial cuts, so they’ll be looking for efficiencies across the corporation. Staff will bring a Corporate Strategic Plan to council in September that will identify the important services and functions of the City, and what areas may not be a priority, as well as potential budget reduction opportunities. You will have a role too. The City will be updating the Citizen Satisfaction Survey this summer, and that feedback will also inform what services might be decreased.

IDE-2019-84 Baker District Redevelopment: Progress Update and Financial Impacts – It looks like the main branch of the Guelph Public Library is definitely going to feel the pinch from provincial changes. The original price tag for the public components of the Baker redevelopment, including new parking, was $80 million, and that was excluding land acquisition and site prep; $24 million from development charges, $20 million from parking fees, and $36 million from the tax base. And then came Bill 108.

Now the City is looking at spending $34 million excluding land costs and site prep. At the same time, the City is also looking to some changes to the proposed plan, specifically the inclusion of spaces that might compete with other City-owned facilities. That would include the proposed 300-seat multi-purpose room that could be rented for cheaper than, say, the River Run Centre, and thus have a negative effect on revenues. The City is also concerned about the significantly larger work space for staff than what was original conceived. This was expected to be addressed in a future business plan, but no business plan means no extra space. Staff is asking that both issues be addressed before the final plan is released this fall.

One more not-so small thing: it seems that there’s a layer of bedrock under the site, which means that underground parking can’t go more than one-storey beneath the ground without considerable added construction expense, so staff will be looking at alternatives.

Consent Agenda Items from Committee of the Whole on July 2:

CS-2019-61 2018-2022 Council Composition and Employment Status Review
CS-2019-68 2020 Council and Committee Meeting Schedule
IDE-2019-68 Sign By-law Variance – 100 Gordon Street
IDE-2019-69 Sign By-law Variance – 43 Arthur Street South
IDE-2019-16 On-Street Parking Policy Review
IDE-2019-70 Private Well and Septic System Decommissioning Grant
CS-2019-69 Vacant and Excess Land Subclass Review
CS-2019-21 2019 First Tri-annual Capital Variance Report

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